Cauliflower Cheese (Shopping with Abel and Cole)

The past week may just have been the healthiest that MTV boyfriend and I have had in a while. You see, Abel and Cole, the organic box delivery company kindly offered to provide us with a box to test out. It was not the delivery concept in itself that was unfamiliar. I am a delivery girl all the way from Net a Porter to Asos I love a good delivery. Given that I live in inner city London without a car I rely on Ocado delivery for all my supermarket basics then stock up with fresh fruit, vegetables and meats at markets. That’s the rub. I’ve never got fruit and vegetables delivered before so Abel and Cole was a new experience for me.

8am in the morning and the doorbell rang. It was Abel and Cole with an organic fruit and vegetable box for me to try. Opening the box was a little like opening a lucky dip. What was going to be in there? I even had trouble recognising some of the vegetables (in my defence you don’t usually come across spring greens in Australia). There were bananas, apples, spring onions, potatoes, broad beans, spring greens, cauliflower, lettuce, a pepper and a melon. There was so much food that it was immediately clear to me that MTV boyfriend and I would struggle to make it through it all. I had to plan as many meals as possible incorporating as many of the vegetables as possible in order to use them up before they started to take a turn for the worse. It was quite an interesting challenge but perhaps not one that I would relish every week.

Abel and Cole helpfully have recipes on their website so I was able to work out exactly what I was supposed to do with those mysterious spring greens. I scoured recipe books for innovative dishes with broad beans and for some vegetables immediately turned to old favourites such as my Mum’s simple recipe below for Cauliflower Cheese using the Abel and Cole cauliflower.

I did enjoy my experience of Abel and Cole. I liked the fact that the fruit and vegetables supplied were organic and seasonal and I thought the produce was good quality. However I think that the sheer volume of fruit and vegetables is just too much for a couple rather than a family especially a couple that eats out quite a bit. I hate to waste food and right now there is half a lettuce head slowly rotting in the crisper drawer of the fridge.

Cauliflower Cheese
1 Cauliflower head
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
2 cups milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp nutmeg

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Remove the outer leaves from the cauliflower head and cut into small florets. Place in an ovenproof dish.

3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a smooth paste and cook for 1 minute until bubbling.

4. Whisk in 2 cups of milk and stir until the sauce starts to thicken. Pour over the cauliflower.

5. Sprinkle with the cheese and nutmeg and bake in the oven for 15 mins or until the cauliflower is tender and the cheese is slightly brown and bubbling.

Serves 4 as a side dish. Goes very well with a Sunday roast.

If you liked reading this you might be interested in another side dish that goes brilliantly with a roast: Ottolenghi style fennel crumble.

Gourmet Chick was invited to try the Abel & Cole fruit and vegetables free of charge.


  1. Hi Gourmet Chick

    We started taking the Abel & Co “De Luxe” box for 2 people about three months ago. Like you, I was worried it was going to be too much, and we would have rotting left overs. In practice, this hasn’t happened: it’s encouraged us to use up what we have in the box and be far more creative. I’m now a big fan of A & C. Also, think £14.99 is good value, considering they deliver it to your door in the early hours.

    Best wishes

    The Greasy Spoon

  2. Good Review Gourmet Chick – Looks like the box you got is slightly different to what I recieved. What did you end up doing with the spring greens in the end?

    To be honest, I found it hard to use up all the veg – and ended up cooking a free for all ratatouille type meal to finish it off.

  3. Hi Gourmet Chick

    This is a really interesting post, I’ve been thinking about trying this for a while. I tend to just pick up fruit and veg every day but it’s a hassle. I checked the Abel & Cole site and it seems you can order smaller boxes, I might try the small mixed box and see how I get along with that.

    The cauliflower cheese looks great too, my Mum adds mustard to the cheese sauce which adds a kick.


  4. We did use a similar company a while ago, and what eventually made us stop was not the quantity (we were able to go through their boxes, though there were a bit too many potatoes given we are pasta eaters…), but rather the quality: a lot of unripe, unpleasant fruit. Given your report we may try A&Co.

  5. I used to get a veg box delivered (it’d be left outside our door, on the pavement), but can you believe that our box was stolen two or three times during two months we tried it out? So we canceled the box. But I still wonder: What kind of person steals a veg box? lol.

  6. The Greasy Spoon – Good to hear A&C suits you and perhaps a two people box is the key

    Dan – I based a meal on the Abel and Cole recipe for mustard chicken with the spring greens stir fried and then a little creme fraiche added. Very nice indeed. Glad to hear I was not the only one who struggled to eat that much fruit and veg.

    Man Woman: if you want to try Abel and Cole they have offered readers of Gourmet Chick the following deal which basically involves spending £60 at Abel and Cole and getting £50 in vouchers in return so sounds quite good value.

    To take advantage of this offer, add code BLOGSUB50 in the special offer codes section when you place your first order before 31st December 2009. Choose your fruit & veg box and select “every week” for your order frequency. After 4 consecutive deliveries (each of £15 or more) you will receive a £50 credit on your account. This can be spent on any products of your choice at Abel & Cole within 3 months.

    An American in London – that is low to steal an organic veg box. Obviously a gourmet thief!

    Top Bird – it was a bit of a lucky dip I must admit.

  7. I hv been buying from them for ages – I will know who to send my cauliflower to the next time it comes up in my mystery box. 🙂 And the missus eats tonnes of veg so one box is just about right for us.

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